Kids rekindle love for traditional arts with Lok Virsa’s kite and chunri-making program



ISLAMABAD: A six-day kite and chunri-making event started at Lok Virsa on Tuesday.

The event was part of Lok Virsa’s series, ‘Craft of the Month’, which aims to educate children about their traditions and culture. About 100 children from schools that operate under the Federal Directorate of Education attended. Students from other institutions including Iqra University also participated.

Speaking at the inauguration of the event, MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar said Lok Virsa’s initiative of reviving our traditions should be supported.

“Youth are our future and Lok Virsa has taken a great step towards raising awareness among them about our traditions and culture,” he said.

He said that training programmes like these will go a long way in preserving traditional arts like chunri and kite making which, he added, had ties with the ancient civilisation of Mohenjodaro.

Students dry freshly dyed dupattas at the training program yesterday - Photo by Khurram AminStudents dry freshly dyed dupattas at the training program yesterday – Photo by Khurram Amin

Teaching the children about chunri making were Ameer Mai, Shamim Mai, Razia Bibi and Mohammad Farhan while the kite makers participating in the event were Mohammad Qaiser, Mohammad Nasir and Abdul Basit. Some of these artists had come from Southern Punjab and Bahawalpur.

Ameer Mai, a 60-year-old chunri artist from Cholistan, said she had learnt how to make chunris from her mother when she was just five.

“My mother made excellent chunris. The women in our community are very dedicated to what they do. I have trained some 25 girls who are now skilled enough to teach others,” she said.

She explained that to make chunris, small ball like objects like chick peas are tied all over the fabric to create a design. The fabric is then dyed after which the ties are removed and the fabric is air dried.

Mohammad Nasir, who makes kites, told Dawn that business for him and other kite makers had not been good recently because of the ban on kite flying and appreciated Lok Virsa’s efforts towards reviving the tradition of kite making.

“I am training a group of 15 students and they are so keen to learn. It has only been a day and they can already make kites,” he said.

Students present a tableau at Lok Virsa - Photos by Khurram AminStudents present a tableau at Lok Virsa – Photos by Khurram Amin

Sana Hafeez, a student learning how to make kites, said: “I would always wonder how those beautiful, multicoloured kites could fly so smoothly. Now I know that one has to balance the sticks on the paper just right to make them fly.”

Talking about the Craft of the Month series, Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed said: “We highlight one craft every month for a week and have artisans and experts teach children about it in a peaceful and interactive environment. These artisans display their crafts and also make some pieces in front of students.”

Five workshops have already been conducted under the series, including truck art, pottery, doll making weaving and Kashmiri folk crafts.

Students from Islamabad Model College for Girls performed national and folk songs and also put on a cultural diversity show.

Popular basant songs including ‘bo kaata’ and ‘charkha’ were performed by students from Iqra University and the songs were paired with drums and dance performance.

Certificates were awarded to participants of the last program in the series that was on Kashmiri folk craft to 51 students